Hey friends, This week you may have received an email from Adventures in Missions regarding a ministry update. We wanted to take a few moments and bring some clarity to that email. We so appreciate the messages from you all asking if we are in the US again and how we are doing. Two weeks ago, Adventures made the decision to bring home all of the short-term missionaries from the World Race, Gap Year and Semesters programs.
Hey friends, We would appreciate your prayers right now. We started 2020 knowing we would be especially busy for a few months- and it was. Brandon and I have been training new staff since January but March was looking promising for a breath of air. Then, a staff member in another department had to leave the organization quickly and Brandon as well as several other people have been trying to cover their job duties.
“Salt Lake is Fun!” Last month, we returned to Eswatini after three months of visiting friends and family in the U.S. We loved being able to introduce Zach to so many “new” places and people- he was a bit young to remember everything from our last trip two years ago. We packed in visits to California, Pittsburg, Washington D.C., Salt Lake City and more. After the first week, Zach announced “Salt Lake is fun!
Sanibonani! (Hello!) We greet you now as a family of four! Isabella was born almost 8 weeks ago in Nelspruit, SA. We are all doing well, just a little sleep-deprived. We are grateful that the c-section went smoothly for Melinda and we were able to easily come back across the border to Swaziland with a newborn. We are excited to bring Isabella on her first trip to the States in just one week!
We’ve moved to a pineapple farm! OK, so it is in the process of becoming an ex-pineapple farm, but man, these plants are stubborn and don’t want to leave! Some background… A few months ago, a ministry partner bought a farm here in Swaziland with the intention of letting AIM use the fields for ministry projects and programs. In January, we were asked if we could move to the land the very next month to be the caretakers during the planning and building processes.
The night before Thanksgiving, Brandon mentioned how he was craving a cinnamon roll. I don’t know how familiar you are with Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), but we do not have an abundance of cinnamon rolls here, and I’m not the best baker. Brandon quickly realized the mistake of voicing a craving out loud that can’t be satisfied, so we tried our best not to think about the doughy, sweet goodness we missed so much.
This year has been flying by. When we got back from furlough after Christmas, we spent the next few months adjusting to new positions. Brandon is in charge of the new media and marketing department (pictured above) and, of course, IT. Brandon has the challenge of keeping old —sometimes ancient— laptops running and slow internet on. His new media and marketing department makes sure that our ministry stories are heard by our overseas partners so donors can see how their support is making a difference and that we are using our time, talents, and resources wisely.
“Sawubona.” The cashier quickly double-takes to my face.“Did you just say ‘Sawubona?” “Yebo! One can’t stay in Swaziland more than a year and not learn some siSwati.” As I drive home with my chicken breast and bananas in the front seat, I can’t help but smile. Somehow, it still surprises me when Swazis aren’t expecting me to say hello in their own language- it’s just one word and it seems the base of politeness when living in another country.
These last 6 months in Swaziland have flown by as we’ve increasingly settled into routine. Every week is pretty similar- staff meetings, multimedia, IT, payroll, and going to carepoints for footage and profile photos. It’s hard to write an update we think others would want to read when every day seems so normal. Short term mission teams, interns, and friends of the ministry come and go regularly. We go to the grocery store and buy our room-temperature eggs (which we love, even when they still have feathers sticking to them).
We’ve been looking back at what our mission organization has been able to accomplish in 2016. We’re proud to say that we’re only a small part of this movement in Swaziland. We’re grateful that God plans are bigger than our plans- we are sitting back in amazement of what he’s doing here. Ministry is more about quality over quantity, but sometimes the numbers are fun to look at and be encouraged at all the Lord is doing-